House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber

Some House Republicans are pushing for President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address in the Senate chamber after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested it be rescheduled due to the government shutdown.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) is circulating a letter asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Pence to consider moving the speech across the Capitol. He also suggested that House Democrats should get low-priority seating.
“[S]pace limitations may restrict the number of Congressmen who may attend. Inasmuch as House Democrats are responsible for the State of the Union not being timely held in the House chamber, I recommend that House Democrats be at the bottom of the priority list for attendance inasmuch as they are responsible for the lack of adequate space in the first instance,” Brooks wrote in the letter.
{mosads}Twenty-eight lawmakers had signed on to the letter as of Thursday evening, according to a spokesman.
“Holding the State of the Union in the Senate chamber is the best way to reveal the veracity of Speaker Pelosi’s alleged once-in-history reason for cancelling or postponing the State of the Union,” the letter states.
McConnell’s office did not comment on the suggestion, describing it as a hypothetical. 
Joint sessions and meetings of Congress have typically taken place in the House chamber since 1809.
But according to the Senate historian’s office, presidents have delivered addresses in the Senate chamber before, including Presidents Ford, Nixon, Truman and Hoover.
In one instance, President Wilson requested to speak in the Senate chamber in 1918 to discuss women’s suffrage. The Senate passed a resolution by unanimous consent agreeing to his request and forming a committee of senators to escort him into the chamber, according to a copy of the Congressional Record that details the request. 


When asked what would happen if Trump insists on delivering the address on the originally planned date of Jan. 29, Pelosi said Thursday: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Pelosi defended her decision to suggest that Trump delay the address until the shutdown is over or simply deliver it to Congress in writing.
“I’m not denying him a platform at all. I’m saying let’s get a date when government is open. Let’s pay the employees. Maybe he thinks it’s OK not to pay people who do work. I don’t,” Pelosi said at a press conference.
Pelosi had expressed concerns about the impact on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Secret Service, which are both affected by the shutdown, on planning for the event. But Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that DHS and the Secret Service are “fully prepared” to secure the State of the Union.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also suggested earlier Thursday that the address could be moved to the Senate.
“What I would suggest is — Sen. McConnell’s in charge of the Senate; let’s host it in the Senate,” Paul said on “Fox & Friends.” “This would be the first time in history that the House would deny the president the forum of speaking.” 
“If she’s going to do that, let’s hold it in the Senate,” Paul concluded.
Jordain Carney contributed.
Tags Donald Trump Kirstjen Nielsen Mitch McConnell Mo Brooks Nancy Pelosi Rand Paul Senate chamber State of the Union

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